Taylor turns back the clock
By Jonny Turner
Ladbrooks trainer Dean Taylor wound back the clock when Ariella scored at upset odds in group 3 company at Ascot Park on Saturday.
The Art Major pacer dashed along the passing lane to win the Northern Southland Trotting Club’s 2yr-old fillies feature at a $19 win price for driver Robbie Close.
Winning feature fillies races is nothing new for Taylor, who most recently produced Tidal Franco and Life Of Luxury for victories in the early 2000s.
The trainer had a feeling leading in to Saturday’s event that he has a filly that match his good winners.
“She is a really nice filly, she is up there with Tidal Franco and Life Of Luxury,” Taylor said.
“She has just improved each time she has been to the races.”
“But, gee it makes a difference when you get a good draw.”
Ariella drew barriers 7 and 8 in her first two starts at Addington behind Town Echo, before turning the tables on her rival on Saturday.
Town Echo was third to Ariella, behind runner-up Shanika, after leading in to the straight.
Taylor will now try to win more of the kind of races he has captured in the past with Ariella.
“We will press on now, she appears to be a 2yr-old.”
“She’s got the greatest set of owners you could ever have.”
“They’ve had so many bad things happen to horses.”
“Now they’ve finally got a good one.”
“Andrew Fry owns her and he’s done a deal with a whole lot of his friends.”
The masterful eye of Barry Purdon helped Taylor and Fry secure Ariella.
Purdon and wife, Katrina, inspected the Art Major filly from E J Becks ahead of her being offered at a mixed bloodstock sale as a weanling.
“Barry and Katrina went and had a look at her and said ‘she has beautiful legs and a good head on her’.”
“Scott Phelan went to the sale and Andrew was bidding on the phone in Christchurch and they got her.”
Ariella smashed the 2200m Ascot Park track record for 2yr-old fillies with her 2-41.5 winning time.
Her new mark took a whopping 3sec off the previous record Northern Velocity set in the same race.
Ariella’s victory continued Robbie Close’s brilliant run of form in the sulky this season.
The reinsman is enjoying a brilliant term, having racked up 39 wins.
With more than four months left in current term, Close is set to smash his previous best season’s tally of 42 victories.
Saturday’s group 3 win came three weeks after the driver notched his first group race victory with Splash Cola in the group 3 Summer Trotting Free-For-All at Addington.
Close said he is trying to make the most of his winning run.
“I am just enjoying the fun at the moment.”
“I am at a great place to work at with Regan [Todd].”
“I am just hoping it lasts.”